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You Are Who You Hang With
How Our Pets Make Us Better Humans
Responsible Pet Owner Column
Published in Pug Talk Magazine, Jan/Feb 2010

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Wouldn't it be wonderful to share with others the freedom of spirit that your pets have
taught you throughout the years?

As many of us know, we as humans tend to live within a boundary system set up of
social standards that are either acceptable or unacceptable.  What fun it is to tip the
scale of social balance to our pets!  If we take a good close look at how our animal
companions have lived with us and influenced our lives, we can learn to openly share
our love of pets with others.  With a wink and a smile, here are a few thoughts that will
help validate the love we have for animals...

Instinctive Animal Standards
Most animals have the ability to remember past loves, losses and traumas.  However
they instinctively strive to live in the present moment each day.  Their ability to live freely
day to day allows them to live with an unbounded fullness where they are able to give
themselves to life—fully.  Animals don't hold back and they don't create predetermined
barriers or walls to guard themselves against others.  They're always ready to love
completely, unconditionally and without hesitation.  For these reasons our pets  are
wonderful teachers of how we as humans can live free-spirited like they do.

Pets Teach Us To Be The Best We Can Be
If we connect ourselves to our pets lifestyle we automatically allow them to unlock our
inhibitions and fears.  When we open our own world up to theirs we can learn to
imitate their inner spirit and with practice, train ourselves to live like they do—freely.  
This free-will and free-spirited lifestyle that our pets enjoy teaches us to live in the
present, as a giver, without fear and with love.  Combined these traits make us better
humans to ourselves and each other.

Pet Help Us...
Live in the Present — Moment to Moment
Pets live in the present.  They live for today and moment to moment.  As humans, we’
ve learned to live either in the past, future or a combination of the two and often avoid
living in the present.  Our pets teach us to live in the present like they do.  This has
allowed us to fully embody our experiences, feel them and better understand them for
what they are, not what we may think they are.  We live with a greater sense of worth
because we've chosen to live moment to moment like our pets do.

Pets Help Us...
Live Life Fully Through Giving
Pets live with a lighthearted fullness.  They give themselves to life and they take
nothing from it.  We've learned to live by giving ourselves TO our lives with our pets.  
We've automatically become givers TO life—Their Lives.  As pet parents we feel the
fullness of life because we are a part of giving it.  Because we're donating or
contributing to life we don't feel like we are standing on the outside looking into our
lives—we are full participants in our lives with our pets.

Pets Help Us...
Lower  Walls and Tear Down Barriers
Pets tend to invite others into their life, easily and without hesitation because they don’t
have the same prefabricated walls or barriers set up as a means of protection.  For
animals, they come into this world without barriers.  They don’t create them, and do not
hide behind them.  We have learned to open our lives up to the world without
predetermined ideas and thoughts.  We engage the world freely like our animal friends
do.  Our pets don't hold back and we've learned to do the same.

Pets Help Us...
Love — Without Hesitation & Unconditionally
Our pets love without hesitation and they love unconditionally.  This type of love is an
open door into their hearts and their unconditional love opens the door to the hearts of
those they love.  Our pets entered this world needing and wanting love and by default
we were drawn to their innocence.  Because of them, we've learned to openly give love
and in turn accept love.  We secretly fear losing their cherished adornment, but we
know that loving itself is a gift and we are willing to bare the loss.  Our hearts are
stronger because our pets are a part of us.

There’s always time to wonder and contemplate as we realize what our pets have
brought to our lives.  Sharing these gifts with others promotes the human-pet bond
and the humane treatment of pets everywhere.  An animal's inner spirit has a
magnificent beautiful glow to it and we all crave to bask in their natural beauty.  By
watching how our pets live, we've learned new ideas and ways of seeing our own

Our pets help us in so many ways because they bring more meaning into our lives
through their free-spirited lifestyle.  When we connect to our pets and live as they do,
we automatically create lasting and loving relationships with them and others.  
Animals willingly share their gifts with us and our pets teach us to rise and live with the
empowerment of the gifts that are inside of our own selves.  They are the key that has
opened our doors to how to live freely with high spirits as we strive to reach our own
greatest potential.  

Enjoy their passion for life, capture it and behold their beauty—live, love and practice it
and then share it!

Donald and Sara Hassler are co-authors of the award-winning children’s book, Loving
, and reside in Connecticut with Marley and Belle the real-life inspiration for the
PugTale Adventures storybooks
www.lovingmarley.com.  The Hasslers are active
members of the press through the Dog Writers Association of America.  For more
information visit them online at

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